Deacon Carroll John Schell, a much-loved husband, father, Papa, brother, uncle, friend, Park Ranger, and Deacon, passed away peacefully with his loving wife, Susan, and family by his side on April 1, 2023.
He was born in Sterling, Colorado on February 22, 1949 to Ralph and Germaine Schell. As an infant, the family moved to Denver, Colorado where his 4 siblings, Mike, Ralph, Rosie, Shirley were born and raised.
Carroll attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Grade School in North Denver, and Cathedral High School in Downtown Denver, where he graduated in 1967. He met his wife, Susan, in high school. He followed his father’s advice, “have a good education, and job, before you get married”. Carroll was accepted at Colorado State University, and blossomed in college. He was in the Society of XI Sigma PI, an honor society for forestry and related sciences. He became a Seasonal Ranger at Yellowstone National Park (NP) during the summer between his junior and senior year of college, and because of his strong work ethic, he was offered a permanent position with the National Park Service when he graduated. Carroll graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Outdoor Recreation and Forestry.
Carroll and Susan were married 4 days after he graduated on June 12, 1971 at St. James’s Catholic Church in East Denver. Their Park Service career began at Yellowstone National Park (NP) when Carroll became a patrol Park Ranger. Their next stop on their life adventure together was to the Grand Canyon NP, then to Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (President Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home) in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. He ended up working at all the National Park sites in New York City during that time. After being able to be inside the Statue of Liberty’s torch, they moved on to Bullfrog Basin National Recreation Area in southern Utah. After 2 years, they were transferred to Fort Christiansvaern National Historic Site in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, which included Buck Island Reef National Monument. This is also where their first child, their daughter, Jennifer Clare was born. Their next stop was Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida, where their second child, a son, Bryan Carroll, was born.
After 4 years in the hot, humid, mosquito infested swamp (and considering their children had never seen snow) they were transferred to Acadia NP on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine where Carroll was in a new position called a Resource Management Specialist. The Schell Family lived on Mount Desert Island, mostly in Bar Harbor, for 7 years, until Carroll accepted a new position also as a Resource Management Specialist, in the National Capital Region, in Washington, DC.
The Schell Family lived in Reston, Virginia for 2 years while Carroll commuted and worked in Washington D.C. at Hanes Point. After a couple of years in the D.C. area, the Schell Family moved back to nature in Sevier County, Tennessee.
Carroll was proud to work for the most visited National Park in the entire park system: Smoky Mountains National Park. During the 12 years in this extraordinary biosphere, Carroll was in charge of four major divisions at the Great Smoky Mountains: fisheries, wildlife, vegetation and air quality. Throughout each year, these divisions had upwards of 150-200 employees and volunteers depending on the time of the season.
While at the Great Smoky Mountains, Carroll earned the Employee of the Year award, he was recognized by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Program, he received awards from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Great Smoky Mountain Chapter, and he received awards for his role in Natural Resource Management in the Great Smoky Mountains NP.
After 34 years of serving his duty for the Federal Government, Carroll retired from the National Park Service in 2003. All of Carroll and Susan’s extended family lived in Colorado and Nebraska, so they decided to retire out west to be closer to family. Their daughter and grandson (whom Carroll lovingly called his “#1”) joined them in moving out west too.
The Schell Family settled in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and immediately Carroll and Susan became active at the Cathedral of St. Mary. In 2007, Carroll read an article in the Diocesan Newspaper about studying to become a Deacon, and he became interested in this spiritual journey. Susan had been waiting for him to read it and feel the need to look into it further. She had been praying he would feel this calling. Carroll felt the calling, and they felt their prayers were answered.
Carroll studied and worked hard for 5 years, and he was ordained on May 15, 2012 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He ministered to anyone who needed help throughout the entire Diocese of Cheyenne, which covers the whole state of Wyoming, until his health wouldn’t allow so much traveling anymore. Carroll was forced to retire due to his health, but continued to be the Spiritual Advisor for the Council of Catholic Women in the Diocese.
Deacon Carroll is survived by his immediate family: his wife, Susan Schell of Cheyenne, Wyoming, daughter Jennifer Burns of Cheyenne, Wyoming, son and spouse Bryan Schell and Uyen Huynh of Paris, France, grandson and spouse Noah Vernon and Sabrina Culp of Great Falls, Montana. Extended family members who supported Carroll during his treatments and passing reside in Arizona and throughout the Denver metro area: brother Mike and Sherrill Schell (Arizona), brother Ralph and Charlotte Schell (Colorado), sister Rosie Schell (Colorado), and sister Shirley Dominguez (Colorado). Carroll has one surviving aunt, his mother’s youngest sister, Carolyn Burke, who lives in Casper, Wyoming plus many cousins, nieces, nephews and other relatives who dearly loved him.